Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford
Ballangine Books, 2017, 307 pgs. Historical Fiction
Jamie Ford finds little known facts from the Northwest and writes wonderful historical fiction that brings them to life. In Love and Other Consolation Prizes he used the 1909 Seattle worlds’ fair, the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo to bring Seattle to life at the turn of the century. Ernest Young, a half-Chinese orphan, is donated by a wealthy sponsor as a raffle prize at the Expo. He is “won” by the madam of a notorious brothel who puts him to work cleaning and helping keep the house in order. This unlikely sequence of events places Ernest in the most stable home he has ever known and he soon befriends the owner’s daughter along with one of the kitchen girls.
While not my favorite of Ford’s works, I enjoyed the obscure Seattle history and glimpses into a very different sort of lifestyle. So often, the underbelly of society is overlooked making it easy to forget that people are people and we are all just trying to make the most of the situations we are given. As always, readers of Ford’s books will enjoy the vibrant descriptions of Pacific Northwest and an engaging story.